This amazing document provides a window onto the life and times of one of the earliest Christian communities in the Roman world. In this pastoral letter, the Apostle Paul addresses many of the problems they were experiencing as the members of this newly established church attempted to work out the practical implications of the gospel message for their lives and for their small community of faith.
Paul arrived in the city of Corinth in the spring of the year 50 and remained there for about eighteen months. During that time, he succeeded in persuading a number of people to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. Almost all of these new converts were gentiles.
In his earlier missions to Philippi, Thessalonica and other cities in that region, Paul had always gone first to the local synagogue where he addressed the members as a visiting rabbi. But when he arrived in Corinth, he decided to take a radically different approach. He opened a stall in the central market place. As he worked there, he engaged the shoppers in conversation. This brought him into contact with all social classes.
When Paul left Corinth after eighteen months, there was a small community of new Christians meeting in the spacious home of one of the city’s wealthier families. This very diverse group of converts was “the church in Corinth”.
From Ephesus, Paul traveled some 250 miles across the Aegean Sea to the city of Ephesus. He had not been there long before he began receiving reports of trouble in the church he had helped establish back in Corinth. And so he began to send letters to the people of the church in Corinth. The biblical record indicates that there may have been as many as seven of these letters. Two of them have survived and were eventually incorporated into the New Testament canon.
Central to Paul’s message in these letters was the importance of love. The followers of Christ must express their faith through their love for others – especially for those in the community of faith.
Many of the difficulties experienced by the Christian community in first century Corinth are common to churches in our own day.
- 1 Corinthians, Chapter 6 You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- 1 Corinthians, Chapter 7 Let each of you lead the life that the Lord has assigned, to which God has called you.
- 1 Corinthians, Chapter 8 There is one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and for whom we exist, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
- 1 Corinthians, Chapter 9 I do it all for the sake of the gospel so that I may share in its blessings.
- 1 Corinthians, Chapter 10 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.